An East Penn Township resident agreed prior to a hearing in Carbon County Court Monday to clean up junk on his property ina decade-old dispute.
Agreements were made in both the East Penn Township vs. Robert Balliet case and the East Penn Township vs. Clair F. Troxell and Diana Troxell case scheduled for hearings yesterday at the Carbon County Courthouse in Jim Thorpe.
At least nine East Penn Township residents attended the hearings.
Judge Joseph J. Matika said the parties in the Balliet matter, which involves land leased by Clair Troxell, agreed to a continuance of a minimum of 90 days.
Next, the judge said he believed an agreement had also been reached in regard to the Troxell case, which involves property at 2105 East Lizard Creek Road in East Penn Township that is owned by Clair Troxell and serves as a trucking terminal.
The township has been trying for over a decade to have Troxell clean up scrap metal, junk vehicles and more. His violations, citations, court rulings and fines for that, and other properties in the township, total more than $624,000.
Matika asked that one of the parties put the agreement on record, to which the Troxells' attorney, Carole Walbert, said the Troxells agree that they are in contempt of the current court order for failure to remove the junk and garbage and debris that exists upon the property. They have 90 days from Monday to clean up the property and remove the existing debris, junk and garbage that remains upon the property.
Walbert said Troxell and township representatives will meet to go through the property and determine what constitutes materials that must be removed from the site and what can remain.
Walbert said at the end of the 90-day period, the court will schedule a hearing on the contempt charge if Troxell does not comply.
East Penn Township Solicitor James Nanovic agreed and asked only that the term "junk" be clarified to reflect the exact wording of paragraph one of the April 14, 2011 court order that specifically stated Troxell needed to remove junk that included "junk vehicles, junk tires and other scraps."
The judge found Troxell in contempt of that order but accepted the agreement by both parties at this hearing.
Immediately after the hearing, Harvey Keiper, a resident who lives in front of the Troxell property along East Lizard Creek Road, pulled out a Times News article and said, "This is an ongoing thing for 12 years" and that this was simply "another 90-day extension."
Troxell, who was walking past Keiper at the time and was asked by the press to comment on the hearing, said only that "newspaper articles are not records".
Attorney Walbert then added that, "I think the township and Mr. and Mrs. Troxell are going to work together toward a final resolution."
Later, East Penn Township Chairman Dean Kercsmar said that the supervisors had given Troxell several opportunities to clean up his property before taking him to court, including a 60-day notice given to him Memorial Day of this year that allowed him until July 30 to clean up the property.
Kercsmar acknowledged that Troxell had removed some items during that timeframe. However, he said the cleanup had not been sufficient and that the supervisors had decided that "enough was enough" and had voted at their August meeting to file papers for a court date.
Kercsmar said he hopes the supervisors and Troxell can meet as soon as Monday or Tuesday of next week to review the items for removal and said that, in regard to this particular "90-day time period" that the township "now has the judge's backing."
He added, "We just want it cleared up to be an asset to the community."